Written by attorney Nicholas Bernard Proy

Maryland Intestate Will - What Happens if you Die Without a Will in Maryland

You do not want to die without a will. If you die without a will and the assets of your estate are greater than your estate's debts, then you are said to be "intestate." Every state has laws on "intestate succession" that dictate who gets what upon your death, regardless of any verbal instructions to heirs, if no will exists. The Proy Law Firm has drafted a sample "intestate will" that shows how an estate is distributed during the probate process in the unfortunate event a person were to pass away without a will. As you can see from this intestate will, if you pass away without a will, the State makes all of your important decisions for you.

Common Misconceptions About Wills:

(1) If a person were to die without a will then everything goes to the State.

This is incorrect. It is only if no heirs are discovered that your estate goes to the State. This rarely happens as almost everyone has at least one living relative somewhere.

(2) A person has given final instructions orally and assumes the verbal instructions will be honored. This is an incorrect assumption. If you do not have a will, your estate passes through intestate succession and the probate process, it is that simple.

(3) An estate cannot be charged attorney's fees if there is no will. This is untrue. Attorney's fees for the probate of an estate are mandated by statute and apply regardless of whether there is a will or it is an intestate estate.

This "intestate will" is an example of what a Last Will and Testament would look like for someone who has passed away without having any estate planning in place. However, it is only a general overview of intestate succession in Maryland and not a comprehensive guide to Maryland's estate laws.

IMPORTANT: This intestate will is NOT a legal document, it is a summary of the intestate laws of Maryland. DO NOT attempt to use this intestate will as a form for legal purposes. This intestate will is only being provided as an example of the laws of intestate succession in Maryland.

Last Will and Testament

Of Intestate

John Q. Public


If none of my children are minors, I give my spouse Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000). [Estates and Trusts § 3-102]


I give one-half (1/2) of the balance of my estate to my surviving spouse and one-half (1/2) to my children. [Estates and Trusts § 3-103]

If the assets to be distributed exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000), I ask that court involvement be required to determine how those assets will be managed. [Estates and Trusts § 13-208]

I also ask the Orphan’s Court to determine if a performance bond should be posted to guarantee my surviving spouse or other personal representative exercises proper judgment. [Estates and Trusts § 5-604]

As a final safeguard, my children shall have the right to review the financial records of my surviving spouse

When my children reach the age of eighteen (18) years, they shall have full rights to withdraw their respective shares of my estate. No one shall have any right to question my children’s actions on how they decide to spend their respective shares. [Estates and Trusts § 9-109]


If my spouse predeceases me, I direct the court to choose a guardian for my children. If any child has attained fourteen (14) years, the court may appoint the guardian chosen by such child. [Estates and Trusts § 13-702]


Should my spouse remarry, their second spouse shall be entitled to take a one-third (1/3) share of everything my wife possesses, or a one-half (1/2) share if there are no surviving children. The second spouse shall have the sole right to decide who is to get his/her share, even to the exclusion of my own children.


Under existing tax law, there are certain legitimate avenues open to me to lower death taxes. I prefer that my estate’s assets be used for governmental purposes rather than for the benefit of my wife and children. I direct, therefore, that no effort be made whatsoever to lower taxes so that the government may benefit substantially from my death. [Estates and Trusts § 11-106]


I ask the Orphan’s Court to appoint either my wife or my children over eighteen (18) years old, as it may decide in its discretion, to handle my estate and to be my personal representative. As a safeguard, I direct that my personal representative file a performance bond to guarantee that the personal representative do everything as should be done.[Estates and Trusts §§ 6-102, 9-109 and 13-214(c)]


Unless the Orphan’s Court approves otherwise, I direct that no funeral or burial expenses in excess of ($5,000 for a small estate less than $30,000 or $10,000 for a large estate in excess of $30,000) be paid for my funeral or burial from my estate.[Estates and Trusts § 8-106(b)]


I specifically disinherit any friends and other worthwhile causes because only my family members, as outlined above, will inherit my estate.

Additional resources provided by the author

About the Author: Nicholas Proy is an attorney licensed to practice law in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. His law firm, the Proy Law Firm, focuses on estate administration, estate planning, small business law, intellectual property and civil litigation. For more information, visit:

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